Skip to main content
You are here

Sacramento Lecturer: Tax Policy's Impact on Climate Change

By Dateline Staff on February 22, 2016 in University

Quick Summary

  • UC Center Sacramento presents 2nd annual Bacon Public Lectureship
  • Berkeley Professor Karen Chapple's white paper judged the best
  • She says imbalanced tax structure may contribute to sprawl, which leads to more driving

UC Center Sacramento, administered by UC Davis, this week presents the lecture part of the second annual Bacon Public Lectureship and White Paper Competition. The winner, Karen Chapple, will speak about aligning California tax policy with the state’s efforts to combat climate change.

The lecture and a panel discussion to follow are free and open to the public, starting at noon Wednesday (Feb. 24).

The competition, open to all UC faculty, is designed to spark creative thinking around a critical policy issue. A panel of policy experts awarded first place to Chapple for “Optimizing California’s Tax System to Reduce Fiscal Barriers to Climate Change Goals.”

Chapple, a professor of city and regional planning, won the invitation to deliver the Bacon lecture, along with research support and the opportunity to meet with Capitol staff familiar with various aspects of her research. UC Center Sacramento will release Chapple's paper at the time of her lecture.

The Bacon Public Lectureship and White Paper Competition is funded by a gift from alumni couple Kevin and Kim Bacon. Kevin is a 1972 graduate (bachelor's degree in political science), and Kim Peoples Bacon earned a teaching credential in 1979.

Richard Kravitz, director of UC Center Sacramento and a professor in the UC Davis School of Medicine, said: “The Bacon lectureship affords an important opportunity for UC to deliver on its promise of discovering and sharing knowledge to advance public good in California.”

'Tax policy should support climate goals'

 Professor Karen Chapple
Professor Karen Chapple

Chapple asserts in her paper: As a global leader in climate policy, California should generate tax revenue in ways that support — or at least do not hinder — its climate goals. But currently, that may not be the case. In theory, California’s imbalanced tax structure may contribute to sprawl by encouraging commercial development and thus increasing how much people drive.

Chapple’s research suggests some basic principles that could guide future tax reform to make the state’s policy consistent with climate policy: return more property tax to municipalities, share sales tax regionally, avoid penalizing new development and — most significant — connect future taxes directly to environmental goals.

Craig Cornett, chief fiscal advisor to Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, will moderate the post-lecture panel. Other participants are Lesgislative Analyst Mac Taylor and Katie Kolitsos, taxation and policy consultant to Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or